Office 365 Training Videos

How to Approach Training for Office 365

Traditional training approaches, such as in-person training sessions, how-to videos, and written step-by-step instructions just aren’t working for Office 365 end users. What are the other options? Asif Rehmani, Founder, and CEO of VisualSP, discusses the Office 365 training that works across hundreds of organizations. Watch the video or read the transcript below.


Erica Toelle: Hi, I'm Erica Toelle Product Evangelist for RecordPoint.
Asif Rehmani: My name is Asif Rehmani. I'm a SharePoint MVP and also a speaker at conferences and other stuff as well.

How to Approach Training in Office 365

Erica Toelle: I know training has been one of your specialties since the very beginning. Starting with training videos and owning your own training company. How do you think about training when it comes to products like SharePoint and Office 365?
Asif Rehmani: That is such a loaded question.
Erica Toelle: I know.
Asif Rehmani: The other things that I just said, that's in my bio is I've been a trainer and a consultant, and an author, and other items for a long time. Having done all these different things, I realize training is super essential.
When you're training people who want training, like developers, administrators, and folks like that, they will listen. They will keep it in their mind, and then they will use it most of the time or refer to the material when it's time to apply the product.
But you know what I realized Erica? It doesn't work like that with end users. The reason it doesn't work like that is because end users want to get their job done.
End users don't want to get trained. An end user will say, I want this task to get done. Help me when I need help, where I need help. That was a hard learning experience for me to learn that way, but it's very accurate.

Traditional Training Does Not Work for End Users

Erica Toelle: Oh great. If things like training classes and preparation ahead of time don't resonate with end users, what options does that leave us?
Asif Rehmani: About three years ago I learned about a concept which I was unaware of called performance support. Performance support says that you help the users at the moment of need. Not before and not after when they've already gotten frustrated.
Performance support is the in-context method of training. It is available the moment a user needs help. This approach helps users in any shape or fashion.
Performance support could be a video. Alternatively, it could be a walkthrough. Alternatively, it could be some other modality of learning. The essential things are that it genuinely helps them do the task.
That's where my focus has been for the last few years. To understand how we can genuinely help the user and not train the user.
I even go as far as sometimes saying that training SharePoint end users is a waste of time and then people ask me, “Aren't you a trainer? How can you say training SharePoint end users is a waste of time?”
I say, “Listen, I'm talking about end users specifically. I'm not talking about all users. I'm talking about people who are looking to get their work done.”
Training them and thinking that they're going to retain all that knowledge when they need it is a waste of time. It just doesn't work, so you just got to help them in context, on demand.

How to Address Different Learning Styles with Training

Erica Toelle: That makes complete sense. We know that different people have different learning styles. Some people are visual learners. Some people learn by listening, and some people by doing.
If you're not training end users, but they need to know still how to get their jobs done, how do you think about addressing those different learning styles in a way that they have enough knowledge to get their job done?
Asif Rehmani: Take my example; I'm not able to read a manual of information and be able to understand it. I can't do it. That's one of my limitations. I love pictures; I love the video even more.
That's the reason I got into the whole video business, to begin with, so I could teach other people by doing it. I want to show people how to do it, not just talk about it theoretically. I'm just not a theoretical kind of guy.
And then I realized also not just that, but then different people learn in different ways. Some people like the presentation type of video, some people like the hands-on, show me exactly how it is.
Some people like the two minutes version of it, some people like the hour version of it, and that's just the video portion of it. Then you're talking about other modality of learning like I was talking about walkthroughs.

Using In-Context Training for Office 365

Imagine the dialogue boxes that come up and point to different things on pages. For example, “Hey. I know this is your first time coming here, welcome. Click next, and I'll take you on tour.” You're clicking on different things, and you're going a place.
That's a much more engaging presentation of information. So, you get the awareness and education with video. Then you got much more engagement with the walkthrough. You can even a combination of those two things which is the best way to get users engaged. Participation gives them a more in-depth understanding from videos and similar that to take them to the next level.
Now having said that, that's just one modality. That's one way that I found most people learn, by engaging and by watching video content. I'm not saying that's the only way.
Erica Toelle: Well, you're taking care of two.
Asif Rehmani: Exactly.
Erica Toelle: The tactile and trying it and the visual and I guess sometimes there are words, maybe.
Asif Rehmani: There are many words. So you're right. It's the auditory; it's tactile, it's visual. We combine all that stuff into one excellent package.
However, even having said that, if you make that long, people won't do it. They want you to tell them just enough; don't tell me too much. I don't want to know everything. I want to know this. That's where all the performance support makes perfect sense.

Advice for Your Office 365 Training Strategy

Erica Toelle: Well on that note of keeping it short and sweet, any final thoughts or advice for people that are thinking about their training strategy for Office 365?
Asif Rehmani: My opinion, personally as Asif Rehmani, as nobody else, is that I have done it and I have failed the wrong way. Please don't do things that I've done and failed as well.
Training SharePoint end users or Office 365 end users for that matter is genuinely I feel a wasted effort if you do it the traditional way. Doing it in a way where it's beneficial to them, to their needs, is the only way the user adoption, the user engagement will go up. That's my final thought.
Erica Toelle: Perfect.
Asif Rehmani: Keep that goal in mind. Don't just do traditional things because they've been done that way. Do it, what's going to work.
Erica Toelle: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for your time today.
Asif Rehmani: My pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.
Erica Toelle: Thanks so much.

Expert Interview Series

This video is a part of RecordPoint’s Expert Interview Series. In this series, we speak with top industry experts about topics related to compliance, governance, collaboration, and information management.

View additional videos from the RecordPoint Expert Interview Series

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